Category Archives: Screamo

Best Of / Worst Of / Whatever Of… 2014

Well folks, it’s that time of the year.  We are wrapping up 2014.

This means I get to share my top albums of the year (with anyone who has any interest in what I have to say).

There were tons of great releases this year and honestly, I know I passed up a few.  In fact I’ve even added a few names to the below list numerous times while pondering what all caught my attention in 2014.  (NOTE:  I have even added a few more to my list that I overlooked and feel need to be included – perks of running your own blog I suppose.)

I am not putting any limits on my best of list this year as no artist should be left out.  I’m am just sharing the albums that really impressed me this past year and maybe even reasons why.

I’m not sorry for how long this post has become.  I’m actually quite pleased with what I have come up with.  It really proves that 2014 was a great year for music.  I’ve also decided to add a list of albums that just did not do it for me.


Best Albums Of 2014:

Tim Barry
Tim Barry – Lost & Rootless
-I just listened to this album in full this morning and instantly had to add it to my list.  This is the best thing he has ever done in my opinion.  Music writing doesn’t get more real than this.

Mastodon
Mastodon – One More Time Round The Sun
-This album blew me away and continued to do so over the course of the year.  I really was not sure what to expect after hearing The Hunter, but they managed to keep their style and improve it resulting in one of my favorite albums of 2014.

Cheap Girls
Cheap Girls – Famous Graves
-I love everything about this band.  I think the best part is that they are just all quality dudes who are extra loaded on talent.  I really need to snag a copy of this album on vinyl.  If you have not heard of this band, you need to change that.  This album was perfect.

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams – S/T
-This album was thoroughly enjoyed by this music lover many times.  I can’t say I’ve been into all of his past material, but as of late I am finding myself becoming a bigger fan.

United_Nations_-_The_Next_Four_Years
United Nations – The Next Four Years
-It was only a matter of time before U.N. released new material.  This super-group of musicians really outdid themselves with their sophomore release.  In fact, I favor this release more and more with each listen.

Murder-City-Devils
Murder City Devils – The White Ghost Has Blood On Its Hands Again
-I never thought the day would come when MCD came out with new material.  After seeing them in 2011 at Fun Fun Fun Fest, I knew it was only time before they recorded new material.  The result was yet another classic album full of plenty of jams that I’ve listened to over and over without growing tired of one bit.  I just wish it were a little longer.

Xerxes
Xerxes – Collision Blonde
-This band slays.  So much.  I was not ready initially when I checked this album out and was literally just taken by surprise.  Best feeling ever.

Chris Stowe
Chris Stowe – Hollow
-This heartfelt album tops my list when it comes to one man and his guitar.  When I say heartfelt I mean sad but with true emotion.  He is the emo of emo and a class act dude as well.  This album really impressed me.

Chuck Ragan
Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight
-This album was intensified so much more thanks to his special pals he recruited to play with him throughout the album.  As big of a fan of Hot Water Music as I am, I can honestly say I am a bigger fan of his solo material.

Banner Pilot
Banner Pilot – Souvenir
-It’s Banner Pilot.  Enough said.  This band never disappoints.

Cory Branan
Cory Branan – The No Hit Wonder
-If you have not heard this album yet, stop reading right now and find it.  This was one of my favorite releases of the year.  Amazing songwriter.

Chris Cresswell
Chris Cresswell – One Week
-Intense album by a guy who usually is known to scream loud in the Flatliners.  Subtle tracks with Joey Cape helping along made for such a beautiful release.  I love that this was recorded at Cape’s house in just one week.

Afghan Whigs
The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast
-No lie, I was nervous about this album when I heard it was going to be released.  I am not sure why.  Lucky for me, it was solid from start to finish.

Black Keys
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
-This album was a little more Broken Bells sounding than I was hoping for thanks to Danger Mouse’s touch, but overall it still ruled.  I have found myself listening to it a lot again after taking a few months off.  It is still catchy as hell and those guitar jams are still amazing.

Mariachi El Bronx
Mariachi El Bronx – III
-How can you not like this album?  It is so good.  I loved how it just was not even so much a concept anymore as much as just a new direction for a talented group of dudes.

Swingin Utters
Swingin Utters – Fistfull Of Hollow
-This band refuses to slow it down.  This is their 3rd release in 3 years and is the best stuff I have heard by them in a long long time.

Needles Pins
Needles//Pins – Shamebirds
-DIY punk garage rock excellence is the best way I can describe this album.  I can not even tell you how many times I have listened to this release over and over.  If you dig the Ramones, I guarantee Needles//Pins are right up your alley.

J Mascis
J Mascis – Several Shades Of Why
-I have few heroes in my life.  Mascis is one of them.  This may be the most amazing thing I have ever heard him do aside from that Mazzy Star cover he recently performed.

Baby Ghosts
Baby Ghosts – Maybe Ghosts
-Pop-indie-garage-rock-fun-fueled-goodness.  I may be falling out of the scene these days and miss out on a lot of the DIY music that completely rules, but I can honestly say I am glad I did not miss out on this album.

Menzingers
The Menzingers – Rented World
Chamberlain Waits will always be my favorite release by The Menzingers, but this album is a very close second.  Very close…

Against Me
Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues
-I know this album got a lot of attention due to Tom exiting and Laura entering, but aside from that, this album is just sick.  I hated to see such a revolving door of members in the band over the years, but they still have managed to keep it together and produced an intense album.

7 Seconds
7 Seconds- Leave A Light On
-I am a huge fan of 7 Seconds and am ok with that.  To see them regroup and drop an all new release made this aging punk rocker very happy.  This album was tougher and harder than some of their past releases and did not sound forced one bit.   This album was probably the best punk record I listened to all year.  Suddenly getting old doesn’t seem so bad.

Sage Francis
Sage Francis – Copper Gold
-Sage returned and delivered.  I can still recall the day this album dropped and how excited I got.  I was live tweeting my feelings for all to read, including Sage himself.  I was having a fanboy moment.

Run The Jewels
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels II
-EL-P and Killer Mike dropped the surprise album of the year and pretty much gave it away for free.  This should be at the very top of my list as I can not stop listening to it.  I was lucky enough, thanks to a good pal, to obtain a physical copy that I know I will spin over and over.

Tilts
Tilts – Cuatro Hombres
-This band is the definition of rock music or at least what I think it should sound like.  Remember when Queens of the Stone age were cool?  Tilts are better.

Pup
Pup – Pup
-This is the one album I sat on for too long in 2014.  I am glad for whatever reason I decided to check it out.  This is one notable debut.

Restorations
Restorations – LP3
-Take all of the music I was into in the 90s, and I guarantee you this album would have fit in perfectly.  This is one of the best bands out there.  I know they have a good fan base already, but I seriously think that not enough people are aware of how talented this band really is.

Best of EPs of 2014:

Beach Slang 1
Beach Slang – Who Would Ever Want Anything So Broken?
-Without a doubt, this is the greatest band out there right now and they have yet to release a full length.  They are not young kids and are perfectly ok with that.  They are just here for the tunes and these tunes are exceptional.

Beach Slang 2
Beach Slang – Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street
-So gooooooooooooood.  Yes.  I adore them.  Deal.

Low Culture / Iron Chic Split
Low Culture / Iron Chic – Split
-2 of my favorite bands on one EP.  Nothing tops that, except maybe pizza or tacos.

Needles Pins Low Culture
Low Culture & Needles//Pins – Split
-Garage rock maximus.  Both bands are incredible and it only made sense for them to release a split together.

Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams – 1984
-Surprise release of the year.  I loved what he did on this EP and wished it were a full length.  Adams really is a man of many talents when it comes to music and I have a fonder appreciation for him now. 1984 carried quality similarities to so many SST and Discord bands.

The Public
The Public – Shibuya Crossing
-These guys could be the next big thing to come from Cleveland if they keep it up.  Dead serious.

Remainders
Remainders – Fine Exits
-These guys could be the next big thing to come from Pittsburgh if they keep it up.  Dead serious. (yes, I did that on purpose)

Signals Midwest
Signals Midwest – Wherever I Might Land
-Hearing these dudes cover Iron Chic’s “Time Keeps Slipping Into The (Cosmic) Future” pretty much made my year.  This was a download only release, but I hope that I can find a bag of money so that this can be pressed on vinyl.  I would need to title it SGNLS MDWST though as all the cool bands lose the vowels.

The One That Got Away In 2014:

Of Us Giants
Of Us Giants – Nova Scotia
-Seriously, what the hell was up with this band?  They started 2014 off in a good good way with their debut and disbanded before even hitting the road to tour.  It seemed almost as if they worked harder selling their merch to their adoring fans making up for lost product over keeping it together as a band.  I am sure they had their reasons, but Novia Scotia was a solid release and I really thought Of Us Giants was going to make it big.

Whatever Of 2014…

Death Grips
Death Grips – The Powers That B
-I liked this album.  A lot.  I did not like how this band went out.  Kind of pompous if you ask me.  Luckily, most folk moved on with their lives.

Rancid
Rancid – Honor Is All We Know
-I honestly hate that I am admitting this, but I only liked about 45% of Rancid’s latest offering.  I even listened to it again today and felt the same.  I just was not been overly impressed with the entire album and I really wanted to be.  There were a couple instant classics in there but some of the tracks just didn’t hit me well.  Rancid will always be one of my Top 5 bands.  Don’t you worry boys.  I still love ya.

Gaslight Anthem
Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt
-I tried, I really did, to enjoy this album but just could not get into it at all.  At first I thought I appreciated the lyrics and just needed to get into the music, but in reality I think the Gaslight fanboy in me was just in shock on what I was hearing.  It was just too chilled out for me.  I will give it a chance again soon.

Weezer
Weezer – Everything Will Be Ok In The End
-No it won’t.  Two songs in on this album and I turned it off.  Sorry guys, I’ll stick to your older albums.  I could not get into this at all.

Damon Albarn
Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots
-I love Blur and the Gorillaz.  I can not say the same for this album.  It is different and just not what I was expecting.  I appreciate anyone who does their own thing, I just can’t say I will like it.

Pixies

Pixies – Indie Cindy
-I did not have the highest expectations for this release.  Maybe it was due to Frank Black saying that “there’s been a shift in the lineup, big woop-dee-doo…as far as we’re concerned it ain’t that big of a deal.”  Yes it is Frank.  It sure was a big deal.  It was a Kim Deal.  You should have quit when she did and stated something else.

Wu Tang
Wu Tang Clan –A Better Tomorrow
-I hate to have anything negative about Wu Tang Clan, but after hearing “Ruckus In B Minor”, I thought this album was going to be the greatest thing in 2014.  Sadly the single was the strongest track on the album with a couple of other tracks that came close.  Do not get me wrong, this was a good album but I was hoping for way more hip-hop and less R&B.

Masked Intruder
Masked Intruder – M.I.
-Sorry dudes…your first album was so much better than your follow-up.  I dug it for maybe a week and just lost interest.  It is not terrible by any means.  My review was sincere and I initially liked it but not for long.  I know not everyone will agree with me on this.  The band has major talent.  Perhaps I am old and just don’t get it.  Get off my yard!

Worst Albums Of 2014:

U2
U2 – Songs Of Innocence
-Jerks.  Rolling Stone was paid off.  Apple was paid off.  This album was not that good and I am still pissed that the Apple sponsored commercial had so many punk rock heroes in it.  I am entitled to my opinion.  Nothing like jumping on Google to learn how to remove an album from my iTunes that I never wanted.

Flaming Lips
The Flaming Lips – With A Little Help From My Fwends
-No.  Just….no.  Maybe if I was on a lot of drugs and was just an eccentric individual I might get it.  My ears were bleeding with this.  Quit trying so hard and bring back Yoshimi.  I know some people adored it.  I did not.  These Beatles covers were terrible.


I hope you all enjoyed this list/rant/babble.  I know I had a good time putting it all together.  Seeing how awesome 2014 was with music, I can not wait for 2015 to start.

Happy holidays suckers!

Album Review: Thursday – No Devolución

I remember the first time I heard the one time post-hardcore/screamo outfit Thursday.  They were of a genre of music I swore I would never get into, but there was something about them I really was attracted to.  Over the years I have watched them mature into phenomenal musicians and it’s no surprise that they decided to try something differently on their sixth studio release.

No Devolución is perhaps the band’s most involved album to date.  It is not like any of their previous material and at times and really feels like a well put together work of genius.  Geoff Rickly still does wonders with his signing ability while the rest of the band seems to have really mellowed out this round.  This is the bands second release under Epitaph Records.

“Fast To The End”, a catchy rock jam, opened up the album.  Rickly and crew seemed to keep to that known Thursday sound intact with some screaming thrown in around.   

“No Answers” without a doubt was my choice track thanks to the catchy synths that easily could be compared to MGMT.  The song flowed so well throughout with very poignant lyrics talking of relations with Rickly singing “No answers, no answers when you’re around” at the end of the track.  Sad track, but beyond amazing to listen to.

The piano playing throughout “Sparks Against The Sun” made for a nice, gentle feel throughout.  The song itself was easy on the ears with the synths and distorted bass lines backing calm singing. 

“Open Quotes” on the other hand had a more aggressive approach.  Hinting back at some of older Thursday material, the track had a couple shouts and screams and a little added distorted guitar playing, but overall really could have been a tougher track.  It just seemed to dissolve by the end.

Starting slow was “Past And Future Ruins”, a killer track with heavy Muse matching guitar riffs as well as xylophone both over a steady floor tom beat.  Rickly had no problem showcasing his vocal ability throughout and even tosses it in a distorted mess a couple of times giving for a very loathing tone.

“Empty Glass” was a sad, sad song.  Although beautifully put together, the track was gloomy as hell and easily could bring the happiest person down to a whimpering lull.  The electronic driven music along the pitch-shifting singing was haunting yet almost comforting to listen to.

“A Gun In The First Act” was a darker sounding track with very NIN simular synthesizers in the background.  The more I listened to it, the more I heard NIN’s version of “Dead Souls” originally performed by Joy Division in it.  Overall the track was amazing and was one of my favorite cuts off the album.

“Turnpike Divides” brought the energy back with a old school Thursday feel to it.  The track is a no-place-like-home tribute to good ol’ New Jersey.  I loved the Bruce Springsteen reference, “it’s hard to sleep when you’re born to run.”  This was another song I enjoyed a lot and just stood out over all the other tracks.

Putting an end to the masterpiece called No Devolución was “Stay True”, a motivational track aimed at just about anyone who wants to give it a listen.  The Rollins-esque lyrics were quite stern yet compelling to follow along to.  Aimed at a novice in life, this song has the ability to shed guidance on those who are looking for answers.  Sometimes all it takes is a song for someone to guide them in the right direction.

No Devolución has made me a bigger Thursday fan.  Over the years, my music taste tends to change and I find myself getting discouraged sometimes are bands who never challenge themselves.  Sometimes the outcome is a disaster, but I have to hand it to Thursday, they put together an outstanding release without forgetting who they once were, and still are.

Thursday will be coming back to Cleveland on 7/23 during their tour with Taking Back Sunday at the House Of Blues.  Tickets are $27.50 and are on sale now.

Slacky McSlackster…

Hey all,

Just wanted to send out a quick apology to all 7 of my readers.  Recently I took on a new position at the paying gig (aka work) that has been taking up a lot of my free time.  My hours range from early morning to late nights so my sleeping pattern is kind of messed up at the moment.

I can tell you that I have not forgotten about this little site I run here and have tons I need to share with you.  I just need to stop wanting to hibernate every time I come home.

I do have some concerts lined up this week and beyond:

Strike Anywhere / Polar Bear ClubGrog Shop – 10/08/09
I am super excited to see both acts.  There’s nothing quite like a punk rock show and a handful of friends will be joining me.

Sadly I will be missing another show that night since I can’t be in two places at one time.  A band called Youth Group is playing at Musica in Akron.  I have heard great thinks about these guys from Australia.

Here, see for yourself:

Mike DoughtyBeachland Ballroom – 10/13/09
The one time lead man of Soul Coughing returns to Cleveland touring in support of his latest release Sad Man, Happy Man, a CD I am trying to finish reviewing.  Having seen Mike Doughty many times in the past I know this is going to be one awesome show.

Converge w/ High On Fire – Grog Shop – 10/19/09
I am really hoping to make this show…  You have no idea how badly I want to see Converge.  I just hope I can make it.

Mae w/ special guest Jenny Owen Youngs – Musica – 10/30/09
I am super pumped to see both artists this night not only because I am a big fan of both but I get to hang out with my good pal Matt from Addicted To Vinyl and his super cool lady.

The Whigs w/ The Features – Musica – 10/31/09
As if one night with ATV and lady is not good enough I am going to hang out with them both again to see another great line-up.  I previously saw The Features at the Grog Shop when Those Darlins played with them so I know they are entertaining already and this will be the first time seeing The Whigs live.  Good times to be had, I know it.

Gallows – Grog Shop – 11/08/09
This show is going to be insane…I know it.  This UK band always is a insane act to see live.  I expect Frank Carter and crew to cause some hell on this Sunday night.

Here is a reason why I love Gallows so much:

Insanity. I love it.

So far that is all I have lined up but you never know.  I am trying my hardest to see as many shows as I can.

I’m planning on knocking out some reviews here shortly and I have some amazing bands I want to share with everyone including FREE MP3s!  So hang in there and I promise to spoil you with something entertaining.

Until then, be well.

It Dies Today Next Week…

Just received word that one of my favorite metalcore/hardcore/screamo bands out there, It Dies Today, is dropping an album next week.

The Buffalo, NY band formed in 2001 at a very young age and impressed me with their furious sound and mature way of handling the scene.  I love the way they incorporate hardcore with metal and even add a little harmonious singing.  Their songs have been blasted out of my car windows more than once this summer and I can not get enough of them.

Teaming up with Trustkill Records they will be releasing Lividity on Sept. 15th.  I have high hopes of the release and will be sure to review it as soon as I get my hands on a copy of it.  My only concern about the new album is that I learned the band has a new singer since their last album and I am curious to see if he can keep the momentum going that was left in my ears from the previously release Sirens.

Until the CD releases next week I have no idea what to expect, but I was able to find the first single off Lividity entitled “Reckless Abandon”.  The song is freaking awesome.  Give a listen for yourself and see why I dig these guys so much.

DOWNLOAD THIS!It Dies Today – “Reckless Abandon”

I actually like It Dies Today’s take on Depeche Mode‘s “Enjoy The Silence”:

BrokeNCYDE – I’m Not A Fan…But The Kids Like It! – CD Review

This was the review I was never supposed to do, a release by a band that really is a slap to the face to all musicians out there by a group of four who do not look like they take themselves too seriously.  The album title alone of BrokeNCYDE’s debut release pretty much could sum up reviews of many; I’m Not A Fan…But The Kids Like It! All I can say about this band is that they are indeed the bastard cousins of NSYNC, the ones your parents warned you to stay away from.

It was tough for me even to put this album in the CD player after I took a look at the front cover.  Four tattooed “bros” decked out in fur lined coats all holding alcoholic beverages sitting in the back of an SUV just does not do anything for me.  Add some hair styles that would get the boys in Fall Out Boy jealous and you can just count me out.  I like hip hop, crunk, screamo, and punk but I did not think I would when it was all combined together.  Still there was some curiosity to the CD so I finally grabbed it, threw it in, and as much as I hate to admit, actually liked some of it.

What is it about BrokeNCYDE’s beyond opened minded crunk mixed with punk and screamo that is even slightly likable to me?  I honestly have no idea but some of the songs just get stuck in my head.  Perhaps I like it because I have never heard quit a mix up before.  Apparently I am not the only one that likes it either.  The CD debuted #87 on the Billboard #200 and has had almost 40 million plays on their MySpace page.

Imagine musical styles of Hawthorne Heights, Enter Shakari, 3OH!3, and Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz layered with pro-buzz claims and booty favoring ideals and that should pretty much sum up what the band has to offer.  As annoying as it can rub off I actually found myself getting a kick out of some of the songs but mostly for novelty reasons.

“Skeet Skeet” is a mess of a song with screamo cries and crunk-like jams making for a song that will get all the crunk rock worshipers out there moving.  “Booty Call” featuring E-40 will easily be a dance floor anthem for all the clubs across the world.  The song is has the ability to sneak its way into all the hip hop lover’s ears with undergarment dropping success.

“Yellow Bus” on the other hand was the worst song I have ever heard in my life.  For some reason the boys in BrokeNCYDE call their manhood a yellow bus (maybe you should get that looked at fellas).  I feel sorry for the poor bastard that had to listen to this song over and over while it was being mastered while those terrible cheap quick lyrics barely spoken over decent beats.  “Get Up” was not much better although it did feature Daddy X of the Kottonmouth Kings.

“40oz.” is another deranged club song that easily will keep the dance floor moving.  Tristan Krause, the man behind the beats on this track really has a good thing going for him.  It’s a complete variety of different hip hop beats and electronica blended just right.

The lyrics of “Sex Toys” cracked me up and by no means are for listeners 17 and younger.  Think Eminem clever lyrics meets Tommy Lee‘s craving on an outrageous demeaning quest that is just not necessary by any standards.  Once “Rockstar” came on and I heard the chorus I admitted I had enough and turned the album off.  “Getting retarded” and “drinking Bacardi” is fine but when they started talking about their mating preferences being smooth on top (you know there) I had enough.

Even though the album seems to give a nod to Lil John a lot I feel that I have heard some of the beats before.  The lyrics were clearly attention getting as that is pretty much all that BrokeNCYDE has going for them.  Maybe if they toned down the partying and sexual innuendo lyrics and just sung about something with meaning they would be tolerable to more folk out there.  Luckily I like all types of music so I was able to find some good in this CD, just not a lot.

Having already seen crunk and punk mashed before by bands like 3OH!3 this band takes it to a new level.  I never once thought it would be possible to hear a mess like this, but they do it so well. I can guarantee most of you will hate this band for all they are worth.  Musically declined, they have found their niche in entertainment but with a unique flair.  Currently making a full tour appearance on the Van’s Warped Tour I have this feeling this will not be the last time we hear from these tattooed crunk loving mongrels.  I just hope next time they can do it a little differently, possibly with meaning.

Here is a video from one of the songs I liked from the album. I know it sucks, but to me it sucks in a good way…
brokeNCYDE – Booty Call Feat. E-40

This one…not so good. Looks like some douchbaggery at it’s finest:
brokeNCYDE – 40oz